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  (Source: Edmunds)
Honda refines the design of its CR-Z concept

With Toyota hogging all of the spotlight when it comes to hybrid vehicles in the United States, Honda often has to fight for attention to let the buying public that it too has hybrids on dealer lots and in its upcoming product pipeline.

Honda currently offers the more sedate-looking Civic Hybrid along with the hybrid-only Insight. Honda initially had high hopes for the second generation Insight, but has seen its latest foray into the hybrid market clobbered by Toyota's third-generation Prius in sales.

Not one to back down from a fight, Honda is prepared to assault Toyota and all other hybrid manufactures with two more hybrids which DailyTech has discussed previously. The first is the 2010 Fit Hybrid which is based on the popular Fit subcompact currently available.

The second model, the CR-Z, is also due out for the 2010 model year. Thanks to the folks at Edmunds, we now have another look at what the production version of the CR-Z will look like. Honda calls this latest version of the CR-Z a "95 percent" representation of what the production model will look when it is unveiled at the Detroit Auto show next January.

If the previous CR-Z concept reminded you of Honda's beloved CRX from the 80s and early 90s, this revised CR-Z concept simply reinforces that image. The CR-Z clearly looks like a CRX for the 21st century and is quite compact at just 161 inches long -- for comparison, a Mini Cooper S and Mazda Miata are roughly 146 inches and 157 inches in length respectively.

According to Edmunds, the production CR-Z will be sporting a 1.5-liter i-VTEC four-banger combined with Honda's latest Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid powertrain. Purists will be glad to hear that a 6-speed manual transmission will be paired with the hybrid powertrain. It's almost a guarantee, however, that Honda will makes its continuously variable transmission (CVT) available as an option.

It's still to early to know how Honda plans to price the CR-Z when it hits the market next year, but Honda would likely price it in the $19,000 to $25,000 range.

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RE: Looks great from the front....
By rtrski on 10/1/2009 10:50:28 AM , Rating: 2
Thought about it, sure. I bought the Pri back in 2001, it's at 106k miles right now and I've got 9 months left on the loan (but its not 'upside down' LTV). I don't recall an Audi with comparable mileage available when I bought, the Jetta TDI was definitely available, and cheaper, but with less 'creature comforts'.

The 'eyes bleed' bit is always going to be subjective; I don't mind the look (of either, the 2001 Jettas were kinda fun in a semi-boxy oldschool way). And the Pri I got did run into $27k+ territory with the full up mapping, etc etc. But at the time I bought there was also the $3100 tax credit, which made it closer to a wash to an equally-well-trimmed out (top end basically) then-year Jetta.

Never said it was the "Only" solution...just said buying one didn't presuppose bark-encircling tendancies. :) As of right now, no need to trade-out of it as long as I keep getting north of 49mpg lifetime average MPG. Batteries are warranteed for another 45k miles, and reports from the field are of 200k mile expectations well in excess of the warantee anyway. So far I've done nothing to the car but regular scheduled maintenance (oil/filters and less frequent coolant changes) and put a 2nd set of tires on it.

RE: Looks great from the front....
By rtrski on 10/1/2009 10:56:39 AM , Rating: 2
OOPS - scratch 2001 above and replace with 2005. This is the 2nd gen Pri, and the tax credit didn't exist on the 2001 I don't think. Sorry for confusion, my prior car was a 2001 (non-TDI, base gas engine) Jetta, but I didn't have the long commute until 2005 which prompted the Prius purchase.

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